Everyone immediately became more alert upon hearing this, and they began to appraise Elder Cai with intense focus in their eyes.
Elder Cai continued, "Firstly, you'll be traveling to the army on your own, so your first mission will be to get to your destination. I'll be giving you a map later on, and you'll have to get to the designated location according to the map. Secondly, in order to make this a more challenging exercise, you'll be stripped of all of your money and everything else aside from your suits of battle armor, and the items required to make your battle armor. Thirdly, after getting to the designated location, you have to follow the orders of your superiors no matter what. If anyone leaves without permission during the course of your military service, you'll be regarded as a deserter and be punished by expulsion."
The more Tang Wulin heard, the more uneasy he became. "Elder Cai, what do we have to do if we wish to withdraw from this stint of military service prior to its conclusion?"
Elder Cai replied, "You have to submit an application, and only after providing proof that you're physically or mentally unable to continue will you be permitted to withdraw, is that clear?"
A wry smile appeared on Tang Wulin's face. "This really does sound like a very difficult undertaking."
Elder Cai smiled upon hearing this, and her smile was even more unsettling than the one Yun Ming had given Tang Wulin a few days ago. "Difficult? You're severely underestimating the task that lies ahead of you! Prepare yourselves; the route that will lead you to your destination has been named after one of the soul fusion skills between Spirit Ice Douluo Huo Yuhao and Dragon Butterfly Douluo Tang Wutong. The name is Golden Road. Your first task will be to pass through this Golden Road and arrive at the designated location of your military training. Everything else will be made clear to you after you get there. Tang Wulin, step forward to accept the map."
Tang Wulin strode over to Elder Cai, and the latter handed a map over to him. "I'll give all of you half an hour to bring out everything that doesn't have to do with your suits of battle armor. Your weapons are also an exception to this. We'll be checking to verify that you've submitted everything in half an hour, and following the verification process, you may depart. Of course, you won't be permitted to take any money with you, so you'll have to rely entirely on yourselves."
Thus, Tang Wulin and his friends hurriedly rushed away to prepare for their upcoming journey. Zhuo Shi strode over to Elder Cai from a dark corner in the distance, and asked, "Aren't we being too cruel here?"
Elder Cai shrugged in response. "This is the pavilions master's decision, not mine. In any case, I think it's a good thing that we're being a little cruel to them. At the very least, it'll allow them to go further. By the way, how long did you last back when you did your military training?"
Zhuo Shi sighed, "Nine months. How about you?"
Elder Cai harrumphed and gave no reply.
Zhuo Shi chuckled, "You didn't last as long as I did, right? Nine months is already a very exceptional result. Aside from those freaks among freaks, who can complete all of those insane missions?"
Elder Cai smiled, as she said, "You're right, but I'll be relaying what you said to the freaks that you were referring to."
"Er, what do you want to eat tonight, Mei'er? I'll invite you out to dinner."
Tang Wulin didn't have many items he could take with him; aside from his suit of battle armor, he only had his forging hammers and some uncommon metals left. The rest all had to be submitted for confiscation.
Thankfully, he'd already forged all of the metals required to construct everyone's suits of battle armor, and he'd also taken some additional pieces of uncommon metals with him to practice his forging on.
The military training sounded very grueling, but in reality, Tang Wulin wasn't overly concerned. After all, the training regimen that he'd devised for himself was already extremely arduous. He firmly believed that he'd be able to last through any military training that someone else had endured the full duration of.
The checks conducted on them prior to their departure from the academy were more thorough than expected. However, none of them were planning to cheat the system in the first place, so the tests were completed quite quickly, and everyone departed from the academy.
According to the requirements that they'd been given, they had to arrive at the military training location within 15 days. Otherwise, they'd lose the right to undertake military training. If that were to happen, they'd be expelled from the academy, and their titles as Shrek’s Seven Monsters would be revoked.
After leaving the academy, Tang Wulin felt as if he'd arrived in another world as it had been half a year since he'd last left the academy.
He stretched his body vigorously, and a sense of exhaustion suddenly welled up in his heart.
Regardless of how powerful his body was, forcing himself to work as hard as he could every single day for six months was still bound to take a heavy toll on him. Spiritual power and energy could be replenished through meditation, but accumulated mental fatigue was not that easy to eradicate.
After leaving the academy, Tang Wulin finally relaxed for the first time in months, so he was naturally struck by a sense of exhaustion.
"What do we do now, Captain? Set off on foot?" Yue Zhengyu asked. All of them had changed into their own clothes, and Yue Zhengyu was in a set of white activewear that complemented his golden hair very well.
However, the perpetual smile that was once on his face had faded, and it seemed that he'd matured quite significantly during the past six months. Just like Tang Wulin, he'd also spent most of his time during the past six months in seclusion.
Tang Wulin replied, "It's definitely not a viable option to try and get there on foot. According to the designated location on the map, there's no way we'll be able to reach our destination in 15 days on foot. Let's go earn some money first. We can officially set off after that."
Earning money was a very simple task to Tang Wulin. After all, his forging skills were always extremely sought-after everywhere he went. On top of that, he had to go and visit his teacher as well.
After arriving at the Shrek City Blacksmith’s Association, Tang Wulin was immediately struck by a sense of nostalgia. Following his return, he'd only paid Teacher Mu Chen one visit before he went into seclusion for half a year. Mu Chen had given him his forging experience journal, and Tang Wulin had saved up many questions that he wanted to ask Mu Chen.
Different Saint Blacksmiths took different paths to achieve soul refinement, and compared to the route that Feng Wuyu took, the path that Mu Chen had followed was more orthodox. Referencing these two sets of contrasting experiences would undoubtedly be very beneficial to Tang Wulin's own journey to soul refinement.
Mu Chen was very surprised and elated by Tang Wulin's visit. He couldn't help but smile at the sight of the handsome young man standing before him.
"You seem to have grown taller and more muscular, but you look a little tired," Mu Chen remarked with a smile.
A wry smile appeared on Tang Wulin's face. "I don't know what happened, either; this sense of exhaustion immediately appeared as soon as I left the academy. Teacher, the academy has organized a trial for us that's going to take a long time to complete, so I might be gone for a long time. I wanted to pay you a visit for my departure, and also..."
He paused momentarily and scratched his head before continuing, "The academy has imposed many restrictions on us, so all of our money was confiscated. I wanted to see if there were any forging missions that were available for me to complete so I can earn some money for the trip."
Mu Chen burst into laughter upon hearing this. "That's not an issue. However, seeing as this is a requirement imposed on you by Shrek Academy, I can't just directly give you money. How about this? Choose a type of metal, and forge it to the highest level you're capable of. I want to see what progress you've made during the past six months. After that, the association will purchase that piece of metal according to the market price, and you'll definitely have enough money for your trip that way."
"Alright," Tang Wulin immediately agreed.
Right at this moment, a familiar voice sounded from outside the door. "I'm back, Father!"
Before Tang Wulin had a chance to turn around, a fragrant scent wafted into the room, and a gorgeous figure appeared at the doorway. She faltered slightly at the sight of so many people standing in Mu Chen's office, but she then quickly caught sight of the man standing directly before her father.
Her footsteps immediately faltered, and her expression also stiffened.
At this moment, Tang Wulin had already turned around, and he appraised the young woman with a smile as he greeted, "Hello, Senior Disciple Sister."
The one who had just walked in through the door was none other than Mu Xi. The last time that Tang Wulin had seen her was prior to his departure to the Star Luo Empire. After that, he came back to participate in the Sea God Fate Match-making Convention, then went into seclusion following Gu Yue's disappearance.Previous Chapter Next Chapter